Sport - Golf - Amy Millward
Amy Millward - Teaching Professional - Claude Harmon Performance Golf Academy Dubai (Harry Grimshaw) Image Credit: Harry Grimshaw - Golf Editor Gulf News

Dubai was never one of the places on Amy Millward's list of places to work. But after the brit first visited the UAE, she fell in love with not just the country but the golf courses as well. From that vacation, she then made it her dream to continue her career in coaching golf here.

“I've been based at the Claude Harmon Golf Academy, probably coming up to four years now. I joined in September 2019 and I joined after interning twice at the golf school.

“I realised that this was a place that I wanted to come and work in terms of Dubai, and it was a great way to kind of experience how lessons were given, what the job entailed, and just getting stuck in a little bit with meeting the coaches, meeting the team and just helping out. So it was the perfect opportunity to come here next.

“We have all abilities here at the academy, so we have beginners through to our junior program. We also have your standard amateur up until you're elite player and pros that we teach as well. So it covers everybody really.

Watch: Amy Millward on women’s golf in the UAE Harry Grimshaw - Golf Editor Gulf News

“Across the time that the school's been open, even when it was Butch Harmon first and now into Claude Harmon. They've had some amazing players come through, some great amateurs, and I think that's just come down to the instructors themselves. Now it's Jamie, Joe, Mike, the whole team and before what it was Justin, Claude and they were here. It just shows kind of the level in which the school is and the reason why people maybe come to us as well.

The Claude Harmon Golf Academy at the Els Club is no stranger to professionals wanting to use the facilities. In the past, the likes of 2022 U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick, two-time Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship winner Tommy Fleetwood, and the Dubai based Ryder Cup star Nicolas Colsaerts are to name a few utilising the practice facilities in November just before the Race to Dubai at Jumeirah Golf Estates, and January before the Middle East swing on the DP World Tour.

“It's amazing working under Claude's name and having the opportunity to meet him. He comes and sees us at least once, maybe twice a year. So we get that chance to watch him give lessons, ask him as many questions as we want to kind of bombard him I guess a little bit!

Sport - Golf - Claude Harmon
Claude Harmon (left) with Jamie McConnell at the CH3 Performance Golf Academy at The Els Club, Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

“The list of players Claude taught, two previous World Number Ones in Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson. And the kind of the level that they still remain in and coming back from injury specifically in Brooks and just seeing him come back and win a major was awesome.

When Amy isn’t busy teaching at the academy, she can be seen in many ways growing the women’s game of golf in the UAE. Most recently she has got involved with The R&A and their new Women in Golf Charter programme they have announced.

Women in Golf Charter

“I contacted Jackie Davidson at The R&A and was like, “What is the process here to join the Women in Golf Charter programme?” We just came up with our goals and initiatives that we would do to help grow the game, commit to the charter, and then it kind of went from there really

“I'm a big advocate for growing the women's game anyway. I think being a female, growing up through the sport and kind of seeing how it is still evolving and becoming more inclusive is amazing. But I still want to do more, leave kind of the legacy, however cliche that sounds.

Driving forward change

Over 1,000 organisations across the world have signed up for the Women in Golf Charter and are committed to driving forward change, breaking down barriers and creating a more inclusive culture within golf.

“Obviously already doing a lot in terms of trying to build a ladies program here, working alongside Jenny with Chicks With Sticks. But it was like, what can we continue to do more? So I was like, if I can get on their leadership program, there'll be more that I can develop as a person, maybe grow myself as a coach, as an individual, and then maybe a leader as well.

“I think with women's golf, there's definitely kind of that trend for more people to get into the sport. It's one of those sports I think once you play, you actually kind of hooked. You just have to break that barrier of getting to a golf course or driving range and trying it. And then you realize, actually, I quite like this.

People coming together

Chicks With Sticks has been a big initiative to help grow the game in terms of that 18 to maybe 35, 40 age bracket in terms of kind of having a big social play. I think that's the biggest thing that females want out of the game is to see the social side. It doesn't have to be competitive by any means. It's just people coming together, having a laugh and a joke, just enjoying themselves, playing a sport and that kind of thing.

“We have complemented that with the ladies program that we run here, which is part of Love.Golf and the two programs have just really worked well together, covering a really nice basis for all ladies to get involved. Whether you're working, mums, young, old, everyone is covered to feel what you need to be part of.

“Recently we had a talk with The R&A and the EGF (Emirates Golf Federation) to kind of come together and kind of really push women's golf. So I think the fact that the UAE is the first country to have all golf clubs signed on the charter means that the UAE and the EGF are making a massive push for the women's game to come to the forefront a little bit more.

“So, yeah, why would you not want to play golf in the UAE?”